Ranger tips: Hallett Cove Conservation Park

Ranger tips: Hallett Cove Conservation Park

Get insid­er tips on how to make the most out of your vis­it from park ranger Jae Ellis.

Just 30 min­utes’ dri­ve from the city cen­tre, locat­ed in the south­ern coastal sub­urbs of Ade­laide, Hal­lett Cove Con­ser­va­tion Park is packed full of inter­est­ing geo­log­i­cal fea­tures.

The park’s inter­pre­ta­tive walk­ing trail describes its cul­tur­al and geo­log­i­cal her­itage, includ­ing evi­dence of an Aus­tralian ice age some 280 mil­lion years ago.

The out­stand­ing glacial pave­ments along the north­ern clifftops are recog­nised as the best record of Per­mi­an glacia­tion in Aus­tralia and have inter­na­tion­al significance.

It’s a small park that packs a lot of punch, all year round.

Want some point­ers about things to do on your next vis­it? We’ve asked park ranger Jae Ellis for some insid­er tips. Here’s what she had to say:

When is the best time to visit?

Any time is a great time to vis­it Hal­lett Cove Con­ser­va­tion Park – there’s always some­thing to see or do no mat­ter what time of the year.

Warm sum­mer days are a fan­tas­tic time to explore the park’s under­wa­ter world. Snorkelling off the coast is sen­sa­tion­al and also gives great respite from the heat on hot Ade­laide days.

Cool­er autumn weath­er is per­fect for explor­ing the walk­ing trails that tra­verse the park.

For spec­tac­u­lar coastal views, check out the 7.2 km (one-way) Coast Park Path that links Hal­lett Cove Con­ser­va­tion Park and the Mari­no Esplanade. If you don’t have enough ener­gy to walk back to the start, you can even catch a train back.

Dur­ing win­ter, stormy seas and grey skies make great pho­tog­ra­phy oppor­tu­ni­ties, espe­cial­ly when the waves crash onto the cliffs below. Black Cliff Look­out is a great van­tage point to cap­ture your next epic photo. 

A vis­it in spring will reward you with sun­ny, cool days and a car­pet of wild­flow­ers. Keep your eye out for them along the Glacial Hike while you’re admir­ing the park’s stun­ning geo­log­i­cal fea­tures and coastal vistas.

Top tip: Don’t for­get to share your pho­tos on Insta­gram and tag #hal­lettcov­econ­ser­va­tion­park.

Ranger tips: Hallett Cove Conservation Park

What’s Hal­lett Cove Con­ser­va­tion Park’s best kept secret?

It’s not so much a secret’ but a for­got­ten gem. The Glacial Pave­ment at the top of Black Cliff Look­out was formed when a glac­i­er moved over the land­scape mil­lions of years ago.

The glac­i­er extend­ed from South Aus­tralia to Antarc­ti­ca, back when the two con­ti­nents joined togeth­er mil­lions of years ago. The scratch­es you can see on the Glacial Pave­ment were gouged by rocks on the bot­tom of the ice. 

Ranger tips: Hallett Cove Conservation Park

How was the Sug­ar­loaf geo­log­i­cal fea­ture formed?

The Sug­ar­loaf is an icon­ic geo­log­i­cal mar­vel of the park, with a fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ry of glac­i­ers and erosion.

You’ll find the Sug­ar­loaf in the area of the park called the Amphithe­atre, which was once filled by a glacial lake mil­lions of years ago.

As you stand next to the Sug­ar­loaf, you’ll notice the dif­fer­ent colours of the sed­i­ment lay­ers that make up the formation:

Base lay­er – The dark red lay­er at the base of the Sug­ar­loaf was formed by sed­i­ments left behind by the glacial lake.

Mid­dle lay­er – The mid­dle white lay­er con­sists of light-coloured sands that replaced the ice when the glac­i­er melt­ed about 280 mil­lion years ago.

Top lay­er – At the very top of the Sug­ar­loaf, you’ll notice anoth­er change in colour that was formed by the top soils car­ried by creeks and rivers from the sur­round­ing land and Mount Lofty Ranges.

Mil­lions of years of ero­sion fur­ther shaped the land­scape cre­at­ing the fea­tures we see today. The cycle of ero­sion and depo­si­tion still con­tin­ues today as soils are erod­ed from the land and blown into the sea.

It is very frag­ile, so please look but don’t touch or climb on the formations.

Ranger tips: Hallett Cove Conservation Park

What ani­mals can you find in the park?

You’re sure to see plen­ty of birdlife, includ­ing hov­er­ing nan­keen kestrals and singing hon­eyeaters. If you’re lucky you might even spot a fam­i­ly of quail run­ning through the dune scrub.

There’s also lots of rep­tiles includ­ing skinks, blue tongues and snakes – remem­ber, it is a con­ser­va­tion park! 

If you’re vis­it­ing in the warmer months be snake smart’ by stick­ing to trails, mak­ing a bit of noise as you walk, and wear­ing long pants and closed shoes.

Down in the rock pools you might find crabs, urchins and sea stars. Check out the inter­pre­tive signs through­out the park for more infor­ma­tion on what you might find.

Ranger tips: Hallett Cove Conservation Park

Where’s the best view in the park?

There are two views that I love and it’s too hard to split them! The Black Cliff Look­out and the Amphithe­atre Rim offer the most amaz­ing views of the coast­line and geo­log­i­cal formations.

My tip is to time vis­it­ing the look­outs with sun­set or sun­rise as the light real­ly brings out the colours of the sediments.

Park of the Month

Through­out Feb­ru­ary, Hal­lett Cove Con­ser­va­tion Park and Glen­thorne Nation­al Park-Itya­­mai­it­pin­­na Yarta are being cel­e­brat­ed as our Park of the Month.

Join an acces­si­ble ranger-guid­ed walk, or explore this spec­tac­u­lar park in your own time. Check the web­site for all the details.

Won­der­ing which oth­er nation­al parks to vis­it in SA? Get inspired with our list of parks with bril­liant views or breath-tak­ing nat­ur­al won­ders.

This con­tent was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with  Good Living